Tag

children

Glimpses

By | Blog, Involve, Personal

It’s like one of those stormy days when you know the sun is out there, but you just can’t see it.  And then the sun peeks through.  And is covered once more.  Everything in view is gloomy and overcast.  Your heart cries out for a breakthrough.

That imagery describes much of this journey we’ve had with Lovekin.  Right now that story is full of storms…

Yesterday we received lab results from one of the most advanced medical facilities in Haiti which confirmed her HIV+ status and provided a plan to deal with her infections, fever and malnutrition.  Lovekin had been experiencing diarrhea so it is difficult to know from her health condition if she was receiving the formula and medicine that we had provided, or if her grandmother had been giving it to others.  Her grandmother did not understand the severity of Lovekin’s challenges, but she does now.  She wept profusely when it was explained to her.  She worries for Lovekin’s older brother and sister who now must be tested also.

Lovekin’s family knew her father’s identity, though he had not been involved.  Our team located him yesterday after returning from the clinic and told him that Lovekin was HIV positive and that he needed to get tested as well.  He was outraged, demanded to be given his baby and yelled at the messengers.  He blamed Lovekin’s mother for the baby’s health.  Apparently he is in poor health also, and another woman to whom he was married had previously died from an unknown condition.  If you read between the lines, you begin to see the potential “tip of the iceberg” of how an epidemic spreads – but that story is for another day.

When does the sun break through in this storm?  Well, a partner of ours has connected us to an orphanage which cares for HIV+ children and after meeting with the director, the facility is open to taking Lovekin.  It’s not a done deal, but there is a glimpse of hope.  Now, we need the father and the grandmother to sign their rights away so that we can help her.  This might seem callous, but the sad reality is that either of them might presume that by keeping Lovekin they will benefit financially and materially from aid and donations.  But her best hope for survival is caregivers who have the training and support to give Lovekin medication on a regular schedule, meet her nutritional needs, can care for her safely and prevent illness and transmission of disease, and every other core need this child has.

There is a long road ahead, and we’re walking it together.  So thankful that we are walking it with you and know that above the gloomy skies is our God in heaven.

For those who wish to understand more about HIV and AIDS, here is a non technical overview of HIV in children and babies.  For those who want to help us provide for Lovekin’s immediate needs, we invite you to donate to the Lovekin Fund, which will remain dedicated to her care, and in the event that the funds exceed her needs or her lifespan, they will be used to support the neediest children in Haiti.

Small Steps

By | Blog, Involve, Personal

We had Lovekin retested this week and got the results today – it was confirmed that she’s HIV positive.  So far, only our team in Haiti knows (and all of you around the world.)  Her village and her grandmother don’t know yet.  Until there is a plan in place, we believe it is likely that they will discard Lovekin if they find out she has HIV.  There is the sad possibility that as we keep helping this little one, her community will see value in her despite her condition.

Many people are praying for her.  Some are offering advice for next steps, recommending referrals, donating to her fundThank you all.  We’re following up as quickly as possible.

Lovekin is still ill and malnourished so we are trying to keep her on a daily care regimen to help restore her most basic health.  But her grandmother is very frail and limited.  We’ve raised enough money to take care of the immediate financial needs so we don’t have that obstacle right now.

This Friday, two of our Haitian team members are taking Lovekin to a special clinic at the Gheskio Center in Port au Prince.  I’m hoping that we can walk out with medication, a treatment plan and some tracks to run on, but sometimes that’s a lot to hope for in a single day in Haiti.

Keep those prayers coming…

Heartache

By | Blog, Involve, Personal

Lovekin was born in August 2015. Her mother died a few weeks afterward due to complications from childbirth, and most likely from AIDS.  Her father was not involved in her life and her grandmother is struggling to care for her and cannot afford to feed her.  When we met her she was malnourished and had a fever and a variety of minor medical ailments.  To avert her grandmother deserting her, the Chanje Movement engaged in her life and took care of her immediate needs, including baby formula and medication.

We were in the intake process for Lovekin at Chanje Lakay in hopes of saving her life when we discovered she is HIV positive.  Our shelter is not equipped to deal with the care for her, so we are actively trying to find her a home where she will have the best care.  She is a delicate bundle of joy despite the circumstances of her early life. She has a sweet, contemplative demeanor and loves to be held!

We have created a designated fund for Lovekin to provide for her needs in the weeks, months and (prayerfully) years to come.  In the event that the generosity of donors outlasts her life, the remaining funds will be used to care for other Haitian babies and children who are HIV positive.

We will be posting actively as her story unfolds…

Through New Eyes

By | Blog, Envision, Involve

LaurenThis guest post is from Lauren Anderson, a young mother of two who participated in the August 2014 Haiti Mission Team with our humanitarian outreach, the Chanje Movement.  We are thrilled to be able to share her observations and experience:

There is so much I’ve learned this last year with my involvement in Chanje. One of the greatest lessons I learned is that sometimes when God calls you, it starts as a whisper. The whisper calling me to go to Haiti was gentle at first, so much so that I even ignored it. But overtime it began to grow to a point where it was so loud and so clear that if I were to have said no it would have felt like direct disobedience to God’s plan for me. When I finally agreed, I didn’t even know where Haiti was on a map! I thought it was in Africa!

Before long I found myself with 28 other people who answered “Yes!” to the call and we were on our way together to a small island that’s a two hour plane ride away from Miami airport. After just the first day in Haiti, a different level of understanding swept over me like a heaviness. To be honest, I was rather surprised by it’s weight. I thought over the past several years that I knew all about what was to come. I had seen the pictures that our missionaries shared in church, I had watched the footage on the news, I had listened to the stories, I had even been moved to tears… But nothing can prepare you for what it is to physically step in and experience this other world that exists outside of your daily reality. For me, it was all about the connection. It was about making a connection to the people. A connection to their suffering. A connection to their struggles. A connection to their pain. A connection to their endurance. And most importantly – a connection to their hope.

In seven days, there were times that I felt overwhelmed. There were moments where the ability to keep a brave face breaks down and the tears stream out of even the biggest, burliest, toughest males of the group. There were times I would turn to the veterans for assurance that we were making a difference, and with a brutal explanation of what [Haiti had been like] before, I would be calmed by their confidence in God’s work being done. Nonetheless, my heart was broken in places that had never been touched. A sense of panic started to form within me throughout the trip… “There’s so much to be done!” “We’ll never be able to help everyone!” “We can’t go home yet – we need to do more!” Every thought of concern felt like a needle in my heart stitching me to this country, it’s people, the children, their suffering. My panic grew to a search for answers to questions I couldn’t quell.

Thankfully, a very patient leader who was experienced in these thoughts and fears simplified a connection to the bigger picture. Dave Brodsky made it so beautifully clear to me and to all of us: we are not here to simply help provide food, water, clothes and shelter… for if that were all we brought with us – how hopeless would we feel once we left? It is not our main goal to build up lives here on earth; it is our great mission to build up lives in eternity. If we were simply focused on making everyone’s lives on earth more comfortable, we would certainly lose hope. But our hope is in the Lord and His promises. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 it says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (NKJV) 

Keeping the focus on this main mission purpose gave me instant relief and a great peace came over me.  Yes, we are going to do our best to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, love the suffering – but it is all in the name of Jesus Christ, being the hands and feet of the Savior of the world, showing the love of our Heavenly Father through acts of service. These beautiful people of Haiti will better understand God’s love by the love He is showing though His missionaries that answer that call and step into their world to make connections that last for eternity.

We can listen and find so many different opportunities to be a faithful servant whether it’s a loud call or a gentle whisper. For some of us it may be a path of action, for some of us it may be by means of financial ability, for some of us it may be by using the gifts God blessed us with to bring glory to His kingdom. Perhaps it can be all of the above and even more… Giving our contributions to those who need it the most. Today I am changed by the connection I have to the people I got to know in Haiti. Today when I pray, I don’t just pray for faces without names – I pray for my friends, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray for them like I pray for my family. I can’t wait to return to Haiti, but I also find great peace in knowing that even if I don’t get the chance to see each and every Haitian friend once more, we are forever connected in the love of Christ. I will surely see them again in eternity where we will be servants together forever side by side.

To learn more about the Chanje Movement, the humanitarian outreach of The Global Mission, and how you can be involved, please visit www.chanje.org.

 

New Life, New Hope

By | Envision, Media

With the return of the most recent Chanje Movement team, we are thrilled to share these images of the new life and new hope so many found this week through Jesus Christ.  So thankful for our Haitian partners who led the way, opened the doors to new territory, and who stand alongside us in trusting God for the future of Haiti!

httpvh://vimeo.com/104308199

To be a part of this exciting movement, please visit www.chanje.org and consider sponsoring a child, investing in micro-credit, or purchasing an item for one of our projects.

Build Your Kingdom Here

By | Envision, Involve, Media

Our November 2013 mission team of 16 men preached the Gospel in the prisons and in the public squares, reaching hundreds with the Gospel for the first time. Many adults and children children received Christ during our ministry outreach. In addition, hundreds of meals were provided to the hungry, needy and homeless, and the hope of salvation in Christ was presented to many more. This was the second team to visit the new Chanje Lakay shelter for children. Child Sponsorship is now a powerful tool of generational transformation, as we begin support for our third shelter of children.  Micro-Credit programs were advanced for community development.  Thank you for your support!

Enjoy and share!

httpvh://vimeo.com/80757787

Music written and performed by Rend Collective Experiment and available on iTunes, Amazon and wherever music is sold.
Video recorded and produced by Jacob Hart on behalf of The Global Mission
The Chanje Movement (chanje.org) is the humanitarian outreach of The Global Mission, a 501c3 nonprofit.
No photography or videography was allowed in the Haitian prisons.

At a Loss

By | Envision, Involve

This is really complicated.  How can I explain what’s going through my mind when my heart is beating so hard that I can’t hear myself think?

What kind of anguish is going on in a person’s life that they can entrust their young child to you and walk away?  I can’t fathom the despair, the discouragement, the denial or the complete sense of defeat that a parent would have to experience.

And despite my inability to comprehend, it happened today.  It happened.  Did that really just happen?

fatherlessYes, and more than once.

First there was the pastor’s widow.  She lives in a community of immense poverty with her five children in a house built from cinder block that remains unfinished because her husband died.  She brought us two of her sons that she cannot feed or care for.

The next girl was five years old.  Her mother didn’t come.  The little one came with the widow because her mother just had a baby boy and couldn’t physically make the trip.  But the father of the son is not the father of the daughter – that man previously deserted the family.  The new father doesn’t want her.

Then we met a five and seven-year-old sister and brother.  Her mom had come earlier but had some emergency and left abruptly.  Without the kids.  She told someone at the shelter we should do whatever we can with the children.  The dad had already abandoned the family.

Psalm 68 says that God is a father to the fatherless.  These children are His now, and we are His stewards.  I’m trying to prepare myself for something that can’t be prepared for, because we are going to be introduced to three more children in the morning.

When we acknowledged that we were willing to rescue children as part of bringing hope and transformation to a nation, we knew we would be over our heads.  Today, it is not my head dipping beneath the water that makes me gasp for breath – it’s my heart bursting with a mixture of joy and sorrow.  I cannot imagine doing this alone.

Thanks to God, and all our amazing donors, staff, volunteers and prayer partners who are joining together to make this happen.  Otherwise, there would be no help, no hope, no joy.  No transformation, just sorrow.  But there is joy.  Thank you from the fullness of my heart.

Let Faith Arise

By | Envision

One brief overview of our most recent mission trip to Haiti in August, 2011:

Thank you to Chris Tomlin – background music to media is “I Lift My Hands” from the album And If Our God is for Us available on iTunes and Amazon.  Many thanks to Jake Hart, who did so much to film, edit and produce media for us this summer as part of his internship with The Global Mission.